Despite being the fifth main entry in the Dirt series, the latest instalment Dirt 5 feels like the biggest needle mover yet in the entire series in many aspects, not only in stunning visuals and addictive gameplay that gives us a glimpse of next-gen, but also in its sheer depth in content.

The moment you load-up Dirt 5 it just feels different, perhaps bigger budget.  Not those previous games ever felt cheap, far from it as they’ve always delivered in quality and quantity ever since this Dirt spin-off series began.  Perhaps it’s the presentation of Dirt 5, perhaps it’s the career mode having added star power with the likes of Nolan North and Troy Baker being brought in as the voice-cast or perhaps it’s all those elements which has quite possibly delivered the best game in the Dirt series yet.

In the Career mode this is where you’ll get to sample just about everything that Dirt 5 has to offer with 13 different race classes from the get-go including the big-wheeled Rock Bouncer, the buggy-like Formula Off-Road racing, RallyCross, classic Rally and more with cars spanning from the 80’s, 90’s and right up-to modern day.

To accompany the varied 13 races classes are 10 locations which on the surface doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you consider that you’ll be taken to countries and iconic cities across the world such as Italy, China, Norway, USA, Brazil, Morocco and more with a total of 70 different routes suddenly the racing depth of Dirt 5 is blown wide-open.  Each of these race disciplines and locations are sampled in the Career mode, but are of course available outside of the Career mode in Arcade, Time Trial and Multiplayer (playable online and with up-to 4-player split-screen racing).

I wouldn’t say that the Career mode of Dirt 5 has an in-depth story, far from it, but when you have the likes of Nolan North being the voice of your cocky and arrogant rival and the Troy Baker being your charismatic mentor both of which play fantastic roles in narrating your career it adds a level of star power that I haven’t really encountered all that much within this series.  As you progress in the Career mode you’ll be able to pick whichever discipline you choose in your preferred order, it’s up to you as you play.  Then as you earn XP, in-game cash and become more famous, you’ll unlock better cars, attract lucrative sponsorships and thus earn even greater rewards.  However, as fun as it is to hear both Baker and North do their thing, they are little more than narrators for the Career mode and it soon becomes apparent that the story isn’t all that important as you first thought, but it’s still fun nonetheless.

Outside of the Career mode and your typical modes as mentioned above, but the biggest addition is Playgrounds.  This mode is in essence a creation suite and while this is nothing new as it’s been seen in other racing games and genres, it is the first time that such a creation suite has been introduced in the Dirt series.  To be honest, at first glance Playgrounds is a quite daunting prospect with the level of customisation options available to you, but I imagine once I get used to it, Playgrounds will be an awesome mode to lose yourself in.  However if you find these kinds of modes as daunting as I do, you can always race other players’ courses online and when you’ve got some added inspiration, you can always come back to it at a later date.

Playgrounds has loads of ramps, loops, bumps cages, race types and much more.  Aside from what I might or might not be able to create, regardless it’s an exciting prospect to see what the Dirt 5 community can come up with months down the line.  It is also worth mentioning that while cross-play isn’t available at launch for Playgrounds, it is something that the developers at Codemasters are apparently looking at for a later date.


In terms of gameplay, in my opinion for a racing game to be the best that it can be, it needs to have that ‘one more go’ vibe and Dirt 5 has that in the bucket load.  It just feels so good and so satisfying no matter which vehicle you are using, Dirt 5 has a very addictive nature that will keep you coming back.  It also sounds great too, not only with the quality of voice acting, but each and every vehicle with the power of the engine, the exhaust popping as well as the adrenaline pumping soundtrack.  The visual presentation in its bright and its inviting colours with its welcoming User Interface, they’re just the one of many ingredients that helps to make Dirt 5 the great game that it is.  Every car is created to a great level of detail and so too are the varied race tracks and just wait until you encounter your very first sandstorm, it not only looks daunting, but it instantly changes the dynamic of a race.

Dirt 5 will likely be the last big racer in the PS4 and Xbox One generation, and even with the new-gen consoles just days away it still amazes me how great Dirt 5 looks and plays.  Speaking of which, those that own Dirt 5 on the PS4 and Xbox One will get a free next-gen upgrade when you make the generation leap.  To conclude, Dirt 5 is one of the most satisfying and fun racing games that I’ve played in recent years and it’s only going to get better with the next-gen version.  If Dirt 5 is the taste of next-gen racing to come, I already can’t wait for Dirt 6!